Argentine foreign minister Jorge Faurie this week revealed to the Senate foreign affairs committee that seven airlines have stated their interest in servicing a second commercial flight between the Falkland Islands and the continent: two from Uruguay, two from Chile and three from Brazil.
Faurie's summons to Congress was to defend the foreign policy of the current administration of president Mauricio Macri mainly relations with the United States and the new constructive approach to the Falklands issue between Argentina and the United Kingdom.
Some believe that our search for reinsertion in the world could be in countermarch of the global scenario given the current advance of protectionist trends. However the minister said it's not a candid approach or simple willfulness, but rather a pragmatic foreign policy and certainly not ideologized.
But the fact that it is not ideologized, does not mean we don't have ideas, rather it is the intelligent insertion of Argentina in the world and in multilateral organizations such as the G-20 or OCDE, after years of absence. The primary objective of the ruling Let's Change grouping foreign policy is to open markets for Argentine labor and goods, underlined Faurie.
The minister said that contentious issues with the US (metals and bio-fuels) are being addressed and solved step by step, and the goal of the current administration is a mature relation with Washington, admitting he was quite optimistic following statements from US Trade Representative to a congressional committee saying that Argentina could be exempted from the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.
Sometime in April we should define if we appeal to the WTO or find some other mechanism to protest tariffs on bio-diesel said Faurie who was prudent in further statements about the contentious issues.
Regarding the Malvinas issue, Faurie then revealed the interest of seven airlines in the second commercial flight to the Islands from a third country with a stop in Argentina.
We have these seven proposals, they are statements of interest, but now each company must provide all the technical information required.
However several Senators expressed concern that the second link was not a direct flight from Argentina and questioned the road map agreed with the UK in September 2016, between then deputy minister Carlos Foradori and Sir Alan Duncan.
Faurie insisted that the communiqué was a simple statement signed by foreign office ministers and an expression of will, which in no way dispelled the sovereignty dispute ongoing since 1833
But Neuquen province opposition Senator Marcelo Fuentes then insisted with the hydrocarbons exploration in Falklands waters to which Faurie replied downplaying the issue, it is not profitable at current prices and nothing indicates it will be in the near future.
Another opposition Senator Fernando Pino Solanas pointed out that the 2016 Forodari-Duncan communiqué appeals ten, twelve times to the word accord and recalled that British diplomacy cunning is usually complemented by the naivety of neophytes.
To which Faurie rapidly replied that would be us, managing to dilute the controversy into respectful laughs from the Senate foreign affairs committee chaired by Senator Julio Cobos, who visited the Falklands in June 2014.
Finally the Argentine minister confirmed that the South West Atlantic Fisheries Committee's Scientific Subcommittee will be meeting next May with representatives from Argentina and UK, to address marine resources stocks conservation in the region. Faurie also rejected alleged reports that the lost submarine ARA San Juan had been sailing close to the Falklands with surveillance or spying purposes.